Xiaomi has unveiled its latest smart glasses concept, the Wireless AR Glass Discovery Edition, at MWC 2023 in Barcelona. The glasses display notifications, offer directions, allow for photo taking, provide real-time translation and more. It is a product the company hopes will become a reality soon.
Smartphones may be a staple of our everyday life right now, but a few years down the line and they may become a relic of the past. Instead, we’ll be using smart glasses equipped with AR technology. This is a technology that superimposes digital information on the real world, resulting in a more immersive and interactive experience. However, apart from a few crowdfunded projects, there is very little at the moment that serves this purpose.
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Sure, we have products such as the Snapchat Spectacles and Facebook Ray-Ban Stories. But these are much simpler in terms of what they can do. And of course there’s the failed Google Glasses project that has gone through a number of product iterations before being scrapped.
The problem is finding a suitable device that can deliver high-quality visuals without sacrificing comfort and convenience. Hence, the slow progress.
Xiaomi Wireless AR Glass Discovery Edition
Now we have Xiaomi’s take on the whole thing which is not an actual product. At the moment it is just a concept. Having said that, that doesn’t mean that it might not become something you can purchase soon.
The specs look very much like the traditional thing which is ideally what you want. But inside there’s a display chip, along with tiny retina-level display that uses microLED technology to project images directly onto the wearer’s eyes. MicroLEDs are tiny light-emitting diodes that can produce bright and vivid colors while consuming little power and operating at high efficiency.
About the same size as a grain of rice the display comes with three forward facing cameras, a dual beam-forming microphone and a speaker. Hand gesture tracking is also part of the package.
All of this is technology that is available today. The idea is to create something lightweight (126 grams) that has space for many components.
Xiaomi has not yet announced the price or availability of the Wireless AR Glass Discovery Edition. According to the company, it is still working on improving the product and exploring new possibilities for AR applications. Xiaomi also admits that there are still technical and regulatory hurdles to overcome before releasing a mass-market AR device.
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The smart glasses could be quite useful in real life. For example, they would be able to display notifications, alert to incoming calls and smart home alarms. One would imagine this ideally working independent of the phone.
All of this would be shown in your line of vision on the display. Therefore, a user would definitely want to have some means of choosing which notifications to allow through. For phone calls, the microphone and speaker would kick in allowing you to conduct a conversation on the go.
If all this sounds familiar, it is because Xiaomi demoed a concept version of a similar product back in late 2021.
The display tech uses optical waveguide technology that beams a picture into one of the glasses lenses. We’ve actually seen a similar type of technology in FORM Swim Goggles and FINIS Smart Goggle. Having tested both products we can attest to the simplicity and usefulness of AR. Their see-through augmented reality displays show a wealth of information in real time while you are swimming. Much more convenient than stopping to look at a smartwatch on your wrist.
Xiaomi Smart Glasses do not offer any fitness tracking tech but they do offer other things in addition to notifications. The idea is to integrate most smartphone functions into something that you wear.
For example, the glasses would allow you to take pics and perhaps videos. The microphone and AI would offer real-time translation transcribing audio into text. This could even work in combination with the camera, translating menus while you are sitting in a foreign restaurant on your vacation.
The glasses could even help you get around town by showing road and maps in your eyeline. This would be particularly useful for drivers and cyclists as they could keep their eyes on the road and still have navigation information. The main way of controlling all of this will be via Xiaomi’s voice based XiaoAi AI Assistant and by tapping on the specs.
The connected eye-wear market is in its infancy but make no mistake. It will soon become mainstream. And smart glasses will in time transition to smart contact lenses. As one of the biggest global tech-giants, Xiaomi wants to be there right from the beginning.
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